Investor Sentiment and the Cross-Section of Stock Returns

47 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2008

See all articles by Malcolm P. Baker

Malcolm P. Baker

Harvard Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeffrey Wurgler

NYU Stern School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 6 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2003

Abstract

We examine how investor sentiment affects the cross-section of stock returns. Theory predicts that a broad wave of sentiment will disproportionately affect stocks whose valuations are highly subjective and are difficult to arbitrage. We test this prediction by studying how the cross-sectionof subsequent stock returns varies with proxies for beginning-of-period investor sentiment. When sentiment is low, subsequent returns are relatively high on smaller stocks, high volatility stocks, unprofitable stocks, non-dividend-paying stocks, extreme-growth stocks, and distressed stocks, consistent with an initial underpricing of these stocks. When sentiment is high, on the other hand, these patterns attenuate or fully reverse. The results are consistent with theoretical predictions and are unlikely to reflect an alternative explanation based on compensation for systematic risks.

Suggested Citation

Baker, Malcolm P. and Wurgler, Jeffrey A., Investor Sentiment and the Cross-Section of Stock Returns (November 2003). NYU Working Paper No. SC-AM-03-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1295176

Malcolm P. Baker

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6566 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/mbaker

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jeffrey A. Wurgler

NYU Stern School of Business ( email )

Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street, Suite 9-190
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States
212-998-0367 (Phone)
212-995-4233 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/~jwurgler/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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